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review

dhb Aeron Lab All Winter Polartec Jacket Men’s

6
£200.00

VERDICT:

6
10
Very water resistant but not especially warm, and the notably skinny fit leaves little room for layers
Well made
Good looking
Comfortable slim fit
Very water resistant
Not particularly warm
Too tight to accommodate many layers
Weight: 
292g
Contact: 

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The dhb Aeron Lab Men's All Winter Polartec Jacket is a useful winter layer, but for me it's misleadingly named – the minimalist insulation means this frequently has to rely on further layers, and the very tight race cut means it's hard to fit much beneath. Yes, it resists rain very well, but for 'all winter' use it's a better mid-layer than it is an outer jacket. 

> Buy now: dhb Aeron Lab Men’s All Winter Polartec Jacket for £138.99 from Wiggle

When Stu reviewed an earlier version of this back in 2019, he was impressed. Either the changes since then have not been for the better or he just works very differently, because for me the 2024 All Winter jacket just isn't that warm... except for the odd occasion when it's too warm.

dhb says this is 'designed to be worn over a base layer for supreme comfort', but over just a baselayer – a thick, long-sleeved one at that – this jacket was borderline for me at around 7-8°C. Even in damp air at 9-10°C I was on the cooler side of 'fine' for the descents and long, spinny flat sections. That's far short of the recommended 0-12°C range.

2024 dhb Aeron Lab Men's All Winter Polartec Jacket - side detail.jpg

The lack of insulation in the sleeves doesn't help here, and I spent a lot of time with slightly chilled arms. The fluffy Polartec Alpha Direct insulation is restricted to the chest and back (with a bare strip ventilating your spine), while the arms (and all outer fabric) are Polartec's Neoshell.

2024 dhb Aeron Lab Men's All Winter Polartec Jacket - cuff.jpg

The Neoshell breathes well, even on long and hard climbs in still air, but I found it cooled rapidly whenever speeds increased. I also spent a lot of time trying to work out if the sleeves were fooling me into thinking the whole jacket was cold, or if it really was pulling my core temperature down with it, and never quite decided. Either way, the sensation was of generally being okay, but not particularly warm, even when it was way above freezing.

2024 dhb Aeron Lab Men's All Winter Polartec Jacket - gripper.jpg

dhb says this is 'water-resistant' but makes no mention of a DWR coating, and as I was rarely that warm before the rain started I was never inclined to test that much further. However, water does bead off the fabric extremely well – it will even hold a pool of water for five minutes without any getting through.

Tight squeeze

I can't help wondering if the very slim fit actually works against what insulation there is. Squashed hard against you by the tight stretch of the softshell, the fluffy lining has little space in which to trap warm air.

2024 dhb Aeron Lab Men's All Winter Polartec Jacket - inside.jpg

The exceptions came on long, hard climbs, where heat would build up a bit too much in the torso and leave me excessively sweaty. The Alpha Direct and Neoshell combination just doesn't breathe quite well enough when you're really working hard. It does at least cool off rapidly once the climb is over, but again, it always fell to a level that was just a little too cool for me.

2024 dhb Aeron Lab Men's All Winter Polartec Jacket - zip.jpg

I tested the medium and, despite my 100cm chest falling right in the middle of the 97-103cm range, I would happily size up for a bit more breathing room. Also, as the sleeves are particularly slim, there's little scope for multiple layers before they start to feel bulky.

2024 dhb Aeron Lab Men's All Winter Polartec Jacket - sleeve.jpg

Unless you're at the very bottom of the range for a size (or particularly want a tight fit), I'd recommend trying the next one up first.

2024 dhb Aeron Lab Men's All Winter Polartec Jacket - back.jpg

The upside of the slim fit is that it's very easy to wear further layers on top, and I found it worked well beneath a waterproof jacket. Another positive note is that, even with the tight fit, it's very comfortable. The shoulders pull oddly when you're standing, but only because it's cut just right for when you're holding the bars – then there's no restriction around your joints, no fabric pulling at you, and nothing rucks up. And while the body is a squeeze, the shell expands easily enough for hard breathing.

2024 dhb Aeron Lab Men's All Winter Polartec Jacket - shoulders.jpg

Unfortunately the pockets don't expand so well – they're narrow and weirdly unstretchy, and it takes a fair effort to shove your hand in any of the three main ones.

2024 dhb Aeron Lab Men's All Winter Polartec Jacket - pockets.jpg

There's a zipped side-opening pocket on top of the righthand one, but again the opening is too narrow for a hand. You won't get a typical phone in there either.

2024 dhb Aeron Lab Men's All Winter Polartec Jacket - zipped pocket.jpg

The two-way main zip is nicely colour-coded and works well, and there's a garage at the top to stop the zipper irritating.

2024 dhb Aeron Lab Men's All Winter Polartec Jacket - collar 2.jpg

The neck is well judged for circumference but not particularly high – you'll definitely want a neck warmer when the air is in the low single figures.

2024 dhb Aeron Lab Men's All Winter Polartec Jacket - collar.jpg

You're going to need to carefully combine this with other things – neckwarmers, further jackets and slim baselayers – to really be comfortable 'all winter'. I ride reasonably hard, don't dawdle and never stop unless forced to, but I still didn't find this usefully warmer than some more basic softshells.

Value

At £200 this isn't exactly cheap, though it's not hard to find alternatives at a similar level. The Santini Adapt Multi Jacket is £230, for instance, though once again it seems it's not actually all that warm. Mike thought it was another one for the racers, perhaps, but at least it's less confusingly named.

Arguably, if you're going to need various other bits of clothing to make a jacket work 'all winter', you might as well go for something like dhb's own Aeron Men's Softshell at £140 and use the savings on other layers. Laurence reviewed it last year and thought it was very good.

As you probably know, the former Wiggle brand dhb is now part of Evans Cycles and this jacket is unlikely to be sold at full price, so in reality you'll pay far less than £200. This is due to be on sale again from April 7, albeit in red, when it will cost £138.99.

For other options, try our best winter cycling jackets buyer's guide for men's, women's and unisex jackets at a wide range of prices.

Overall

This is a very slim yet comfortable jacket, but while it gives decent protection it's not nearly warm enough on its own for true 'all winter' use – yet not as slim and breathable as a midlayer might be either. Also, the notably small and tight fit might cause issues for some, especially if you're wanting to layer beneath it rather than on top.

Verdict

Very water resistant but not especially warm, and the notably skinny fit leaves little room for layers

road.cc test report

Make and model: dhb Aeron Lab Men's All Winter Polartec Jacket

Size tested: Medium

Tell us what the jacket is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?

dhb says: "You can unleash the fastest version of yourself whatever the weather in dhb's premier softshell. Developed with elite athletes, this outer layer has been designed to be worn over a base layer for supreme comfort in an aggressive riding position."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the jacket?

dhb lists:

Premium windproof and water-resistant softshell

Polartec Neoshell protection

Polartec Alpha Direct insulation

Two-way YKK zip with easy puller

Three drop-in rear pockets

Security pocket with YKK zip with easy puller

Laser-cut cuffs

Elasticated hem with silicone gripper

Reflective details

Temperature range 0-12C

Rate the jacket for quality of construction:
 
8/10
Rate the jacket for performance:
 
5/10
Rate the jacket for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the jacket for weight:
 
7/10
Rate the jacket for comfort:
 
6/10

Good from a fit point of view, but not so good from a warmth one.

Rate the jacket for value:
 
4/10

Tell us how the jacket performed overall when used for its designed purpose

It's slim and fits very well in a riding position, but it's not very warm and lacks room for layers.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the jacket

Good cut around the shoulders, attractive looks, great water resistance.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the jacket

Not very warm, tight fit lacks room for many layers beneath.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market including ones recently tested on road.cc?

Although £200 isn't unreasonable for a racy jacket of this type, its performance doesn't really justify it (though in reality you're extremely unlikely to pay anywhere near that).

Did you enjoy using the jacket? Not really.

Would you consider buying the jacket? No

Would you recommend the jacket to a friend? No

Use this box to explain your overall score

Overall it's quite good – in some respects. It's comfortable and very water resistant, but while it's (mostly) very breathable it also seems slightly vulnerable to wind chill. It's not that warm for an 'all winter' jacket, and the very tight fit means there's little room for layering up underneath. It's almost more like a particularly protective jersey than a jacket, which may disappoint more riders than it pleases. The low collar and awkward pockets are disappointing too.

Overall rating: 6/10

About the tester

Age: 48  Height: 183cm  Weight: 78kg

I usually ride: Vitus Zenium SL VR Disc  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: A few times a week  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mtb,

Add new comment

5 comments

Avatar
ooblyboo | 1 month ago
0 likes

I have had a dhb Aeron Lab Polartec winter jersey that looks similar to this one for years and it is fantastic. An athletic fit for sure but even in single-figure temperatures I only need a thin base layer underneath. It doesn't look as warm as it actually is. This Aeron Lab stuff isn't cheap but in my experience has been worth the investment. Sadly, whether that continues to be the case under the new ownership remains to be seen...

Avatar
Steve K | 1 month ago
3 likes

(Genuine question) - is it worth reviewing DHB stuff until the Evans take over has settled down?  A quick look at the website suggests very low stock - it's available in XL only in yellow, and in L, XL and 2XL only in red.

Avatar
Surreyrider replied to Steve K | 1 month ago
4 likes

Exactly. I think old stock is just being sold off. Currently there is no DHB brand because all the staff were laid off. 

So a very odd time for Road CC to be publishing this review.

Avatar
Secret_squirrel replied to Surreyrider | 1 month ago
0 likes

The review says it will be back on sale on the new wiggle site. 
 

Either you didn't read the review or it's been updated after you did. 

Avatar
Steve K replied to Secret_squirrel | 1 month ago
0 likes

Secret_squirrel wrote:

The review says it will be back on sale on the new wiggle site. 
 

Either you didn't read the review or it's been updated after you did. 

I looked at the new Wiggle site yesterday (so the day after the review said it would be back on sale).  It was on sale, but only in very limited sizes and quantities.

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